In my recent posts [Maintaining multiple feed lists],[The evolution of the pub-sub model on the web], I have been mentioning about this new trend emerging in the RSS world, where people subscribe to tags rather than specific feeds. This helps in getting all the data related to these tags from the entire index of the search engine (or crawler, or indexer, or whatever). I also mentioned about the problems faced.
Now it should be obvious that I have been looking around for some solution to this problem and my present reader Google reader does not help me in doing this well. The reason is that this reader has been designed for a very different environment and although I was reluctant to switch from it, I had to.
So what did I find that helped me change my mind? Blogbridge.
What's so special about Blogbridge?
Blogbridge has the concept of Smartfeeds, which is not rocket science, but this ability to support tag-subscribes. This shows that they are trying to address the very thing that I am looking forward to. Now the interesting part here is that you can define simple rules to aggregate multiple Smart feeds so that you get all the feeds aggregated into one single feed.
The screenshot below shows a list of delicious tags (semantic_web, rdf, semantic-web etc) that are subscribed using Smartfeeds and then aggregated using a single feed (the first one in the Feeds pane).
The screenshots below show how a Smartfeed looks and how it displays the articles for the feed.
It also has the features of synchronization, feed discovery, keyword based filtering, a cleanup wizard etc.
Problems faced in moving
Switching to a new reader has some problems. While moving your feeds to a new reader takes minutes with the OPML import/export that they support, the problems are more to do with the usability aspects. For example, the first thing I missed was the VIM navigation keys in Google. It was so easy to switch between articles and star them. Before I switched to Blogbridge, this was my major looking-forward-to-seeing-this feature in any reader – Keyboard navigation.
Blogbridge has keyboard navigation but it lacks the ease of use of Google (atleast this is my personal take on this). Also there is no starring at the article level.
But otherwise, this is something that is strongly recommended if, as Blogbridge puts it, you are a real info-junkie.